Sowing the seeds to better service

Producers welcome CFIA commitment to fairness and accountability

WINNIPEG, Feb. 27, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) welcomed the commitment by Honourable Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to improve accountability and service delivery.

"We're pleased the CFIA has launched a Statement of Rights and Service which outlines producers' rights to transparency, fair treatment and quality service without jeopardizing food safety," said Marilyn Braun-Pollon, CFIB's vice-president for Agri-business. "This is a positive first step and we hope the CFIA ensures this culture of change is reflected in their daily interactions with producers and small businesses."

Over the last several years, CFIB has been working collaboratively with the CFIA, pushing for better service as well as fairness, transparency and accountability in the way the Agency interacts with its stakeholders. CFIB's 2007 report card on the CFIA indicated there was significant "room for improvement". For example, only one-in-five agri-businesses believed the CFIA provided good overall service.

CFIB also welcomes news of a Complaints and Appeals mechanism so that farmers and small business owners can register complaints and appeals on regulatory decisions and service quality. "One of the biggest frustrations our members have is they feel they have no recourse if they experience bad customer service or do not agree with a regulatory decision," stated Braun-Pollon. "We believe this is one of the practical ways the CFIA can be more accountable and fair - we will be monitoring the effectiveness of this complaints mechanism closely."

During Red Tape Awareness WeekTM, CFIB was pleased Minister Ritz accepted the "One-for-One" recommendation in the Red Tape Reduction Commission report. This will require the removal of at least one regulation each time a new one is introduced that imposes administrative burden on business. The Minister also stated the CFIA is working to streamline regulations, remove duplicate requirements, do away with overlapping obligations and decrease the frequency of document filing.

"We hope all of these initiatives result in better working relationships between CFIA and those it regulates, and makes a tangible difference in the day-to-day life of business owners. There is a lot of work to be done, but we look forward to measuring service improvements in future report cards on the CFIA," concluded Braun-Pollon.

CFIB is the business voice for agriculture, representing 7,200 independently owned and operated agri-businesses in Canada, the majority of which are primary producers.

SOURCE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

For further information:

For more information or to arrange an interview with Marilyn Braun-Pollon, please call 800-809-9318 or email public.affairs@cfib.ca

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CANADIAN FEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT BUSINESS

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